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Showing posts from February, 2016

Remedial Work

It's probably not surprising that the last four months have left us feeling a bit frayed round the edges. There’s a lot to process and a need to rest and repair so these are some of the remedies that have helped this week.

Kate Atkinson’s A God in Ruins. I can’t believe it took me so long to get round to reading this! I absolutely love Kate Atkinson’s writing but was a little bit put off by Life After Life which is my least favourite of her novels (and that’s a very qualified ‘least favourite’ - it’s head and shoulders above the pack). Atkinson is so good at demonstrating the best and worst of human behaviour through her characters and A God In Ruins is simply dazzling in its brilliance. It’s one of the best novels I’ve ever read.

Long runs. I’m not sure how I’ll fare in the Llanelli Half which takes place in a couple of weeks - my Women’s Troubles have taken their toll (‘Stick with it,’ advises my GP of the remedy that’s supposed to sort everything out and since things are slowly …

One Day at a Time

Boats do not look their best in Winter - not even after a slap-up lunch of sawdust sausages and greasy chips at Milford Haven - especially a boat that’s out of the water, drenched by weeks of rain and standing under trees. Poor Blue Nun has acquired a slimy green coat and Ken, my father-in-law, who is staying with us for the week looks at her doubtfully. ‘Nice,’ he says, rallying. Tom and I talk merrily of how we’ll all go for a sail in the Spring, conscious that even ‘tomorrow’ is too big a concept for the man who has just lost his wife of sixty years. One day at a time is quite enough to cope with and this week we’re doing just that, offering small distractions every day, not to deny grief, but hopefully to provide a small glimpse of future possibilities.

‘Oh, lovely - a table by the window!’ we cry, piling into seats, glad to get out of the cold Tenby rain. What could be nicer than a grandstand view of the magnificent beach? And, look, the sun’s just peeping out! Refreshments ar…


On Monday we said our final goodbyes to Tom’s mum, Rita, who died at the end of January after what had been a very distressing four months.  I wrote this poem to banish some of the most painful images and to remember my mother-in-law instead in snapshot moments when she had seemed so full of life.  I showed the poem to Tom who asked for it to be printed on the Order of Service for Rita’s funeral, but was asked by Ken, my father-in-law, to read it instead.  Rita, it was my great privilege to do this one last thing for you. 
Be carefree.  A child again. A Devon maid, plucked from London, dabbling bare feet in the dappled Dart.
Be glad at heart.  A bride beside a steadfast groom.  A marriage spanning sixty years, paper to diamond.
Be supple and strong.  A champion, a huntress in white, your name glowing gold in the Sussex sun.
All pain is gone.  There is nothing to fear. Be a breath in the wind. Be the warmth in the air.  Be at peace now.

© Christine Stovell

The photograph above is a lovely mome…